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France, 1967 (MIFF 1968, Programme 9)

Director: Robert Bresson

Like Bresson's earlier Diary of a Country Priest, this film is based on a novel by Bernanos, but this time the book has been freely adapted. It is the story of an utterly despised and rejected person: a fourteen-year-old semi-literate girl who is nothing but a drudge in an impoverished alcoholic peasant family. Humiliated and bereft of love, the film tells of the Calvary of the last twenty-four hours of her life.

There is no extraneous sentiment and no attempt at explanation. Events follow one another with inevitability as Mouchette makes her way almost unswervingly towards her destiny. This deceptively simple film is a disturbing, poignant vehicle, but Bresson treats it all with such grace that, at the end, Mouchette's death is more like an epiphany than an annihilation. Backed by the Monteverdi Magnificat, this scene is also a moment of exaltation and one of the great ones of cinema.

See also...


China, 2004
Festival guest Jia Zhang-ke arrived onto the international cinema scene with Pickpocket (1997), influenced most evidently by the work of Robert Bresson. Made well outside the state system, the film w… More »

Frozen Land

Finland, 2004
Aku Louhimies' tough and fearless [Frozen Land] was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's short story [Faux Billet], in which mischance is passed from one person to another. It thus finds a peer in Robert Bresso… More »


France, 1977
"By far the most punk movie ever made." - Richard Hell, punk legend ... Banned in France for its daring portrayal of alienated youth - and called a masterpiece by the likes of Francois Truffaut - The… More »


France, 1969
The husband of a young girl who has just killed herself relates in a formal, almost detached manner, the strange story of their meeting, marriage and life together. It reveals the situation of a rela… More »


France, 1971
After having made The Gentle Creature, in Four Nights of a Dreamer, Bresson once again turns to Dostoevsky &ndash: the script being based on "White Nights", and centering on what Bresson calls Dostoe… More »

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